How to choose the right spade: Choose the right handle

How to choose the right spade

Spades come in many different types, shapes, designs and price ranges. Which makes it all the more difficult to choose the right spade when shopping online or in a physical shop.
Here are some tips to help you on your way so you can enjoy your spade for many years to come.

Tip 3 Choose the right handle

Shaft length

Make sure to check the shaft length, because this is very important. If the shaft is too short, it will put too much stress on your back. Too long, and it will put too much pressure on your shoulders.

Shaft material

Good spade handles are made from straight-grain ash wood, which is polished until it is nice and smooth and then varnished or waxed. The protective finish or coating makes for a smoother shaft, which is more pleasant to handle and prevents clamminess and loss of grip due to rain or perspiration. The handle will last longer as a result.
An ash shaft is very sturdy and slightly flexible, making breakage less likely. The wood grain of an ash handle will run in the same direction along the entire length of the shaft. It is this grain which also makes ash wood so easy to recognise.
The wooden shafts of our Polet Traditional spades are made from hickory wood. This wood, which is similar to the wood of the walnut tree, is very strong and resilient. Ideally suited for heavier work.
Are you looking for a spade shaft that is virtually unbreakable? Buy a spade with a fiberglass handle. These are up to 10 times stronger than wood but they are also more expensive.
Whether you buy a spade with a fiberglass handle depends on what you will be using it for and whether you are willing to pay the additional cost.

Shaft thickness

The material is important but so is the thickness of the shaft.
The shaft of a ladies spade has a diameter of 38 mm, for example. A garden spade has a 41 mm shaft, whereas the shaft of a tree spade, which has to withstand more pressure and forces, has a diameter of 44 mm.
Don’t buy a spade with a shaft that is too thin if you are planning to do heavy work. Then again, don’t buy a thick shaft if you don’t need it as you will only be lifting additional weight.

Choosing the right handle

There are different types of handles: A T grip, a D grip or a ball handle.
Choose a spade that is easy to hold. Force is transferred to the spade through the handle. Make sure to choose a model where the handle will not come off soon after you bought it. A T grip with a mortise and tenon, secured with rivets and glue, is your best option in terms of quality.

The T grip is the most popular option because it sits comfortably in your hand, reducing the risk of blisters or painful hands.
A D grip makes for easier digging because the handle is not in your way and you can rotate the grip in your hand.

The choice of grip is very region-specific in some cases. The D grip, for example, is very popular in the Westhoek and Waasland regions of Belgium.

Node counts